As a business owner or as a manager, you should want to create not just good service but amazing customer service. Yet, most businesses provide mediocre service. Why?
To create the kind of customer service that turns customers into raving fans requires focus and effort. It is worth the expenditure of both.
I encourage you to ask the hard questions. Ask questions that generate answers that are difficult to hear. It is these questions and these answers that can transform your company.
You see businesses that talk about their unbelievable customer satisfaction scores. Those scores could be the result of asking easy questions. But those scores don't help the company improve.
I will share the two questions to ask if you want to improve. But understand, if you ask these questions, you may not like the answers.
The first question is one that you ask customers that no longer do business...
In our last two articles, we discussed the value of a technician and steps you can take to improve the success of your new hires. For this discussion, we are going to assume that you have a new hire coming into your department today. What are you going to have him do? What is the plan to get him up and functional as a technician as quickly as possible?
Too many times, a new technician is brought back to the service manager’s office and they visit it for a while. Then because the service manager does not have a specific plan, and there are three people lined up to see the service manager, he calls a technician in and has that technician take the new employee with him for the day.
This pattern may continue until the new technician goes to school. The result is a waste of the new technician’s time, the service manager’s time, and a less than optimum outcome.
The first step in solving the issue is to develop a new hire...
When someone gets promoted to a supervisory or managerial role, they might think they automatically become a leader. Nothing could be further from the truth. They may have become the boss, but that doesn't make them a leader, and acting like a boss can damage team morale.
Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal. We will consider three separate points in that statement.
First, leadership is a process of social influence. Leadership does not relate to a title or position. A leader can be anyone that can influence others.
Second, a leader maximizes the efforts of others. Because they have influence, other individuals are willing to be led by them, and they listen to them.
Third, a leader is heading toward some goal. People won't follow someone who is wandering around and not going to a specific place or goal.
If we're meeting for the first time, my name is Ken Edmonds. And on this blog, I share information to help managers get better at managing people, growing their profit, and achieving success in every area in their department.
In my experience working in the copier business, something I saw happens way too often was an owner would walk up to his best technician and tell him, “Congratulations! You're our new manager!” Then they turn around and walk away. And that was the end of their training.
Here is one experience where that happened. A technician who was probably one of the better technicians I met in my career was very good at fixing equipment. So the company wanted him to step up and be a supervisor and promoted him to the position of supervisor, but they didn't give him any training.
It was interesting because I got to see him struggle and try to succeed in leading his team. But he failed at that. The result was he quit working for the dealer and went to work...
One of the biggest challenges that service managers face is that of territory management. This task is challenging because there is no standard pattern that will fit every dealer. The service manager has to balance a variety of factors to achieve optimum results.
Territory Management is a Necessity
In discussing this concept with dealers, most find that while they have territories, they need to improve their results. For the dealers thinking they don’t need to develop territories, I would recommend reconsidering that position. If you don’t, you will never achieve the optimum results you could with properly designed territories.
I have heard service managers express concern with technicians developing a strong relationship with a customer and the potential risk that a technician will take customers with them when they leave. I will counter that a good technician-client relationship helps cement the client to the dealership. If properly nourished, the technician-client...
In our previous articles, we discussed the reasons why Mean Copies between Calls (MCBC) is the most important metric, and we looked at some of the issues that impact that value. In this article, we want to start trying to find ways to address the issues in the service department.
Start at the Top
The commitment to address the issue and change your philosophy has to start at the most senior levels in the company. In most cases, the goals, metrics, and practices will be significantly different than your current ones. If the owner/president is not behind these changes, it may be impossible to get the changes made.
The senior management team needs to understand that there may be bumps in the road as you move forward, but if you stay the course, the end result will be more profit, happier customers, and easier sales.
Articulate the New Philosophy to the Team
Once this decision is made, it is important that everyone involved understands the plan and why it will help them. You must...
The one critical factor that is often overlooked is training for future needs. Most dealers train for their immediate needs and don’t worry about future needs. This is a very short-sighted perspective.
The one critical factor that is often overlooked is training for future needs. Most dealers train for their immediate needs and don’t worry about future needs. This is a very short-sighted perspective. Training for future needs positions an organization to make better business decisions and scale for growth. With consistently evolving industry parameters, new digital technologies and a push for advanced business intelligence, training to meet today’s requirements is only part of the train game – future training is the goal.
Here are 5 reasons to start future training – today.
Our Industry is Changing
One reason to train for the future is the constant change in our industry. Think back 20 years, and we were all selling analog copiers, stand-alone fax...
When a copier dealer replaces a competitor’s machine they usually also pick up a supply of surplus toner that is stored at the customer’s site. These supplies in many cases get discarded or sold wholesale. While this is good for the dealer installing the new equipment, it is an unnecessary expense for the previous vendor.
When examining why service profitability is suffering, problems with supply expenses may not surface. This can result in pressure on technicians for more productivity and to reduce parts costs.
Why it Matters
Toner control affects two issues. One is the need for capital, and the other is dealer profitability. From the capital perspective, if the average toner costs the dealer $30, and they have 10,000 units in the field, and the average unit has two extra cartridges, that is tying up $600,000 of capital.
From a profitability standpoint, that same $600,000 has been written off and would show up as an unneeded expense. This could have an impact on a...
For many dealers, the prospect of adding managed IT to their company is a logical next step. For the sales department, it means adding a new talk track and developing some specialists to help close the business.
It does give a dealer the ability to better position themselves to manage and retain their current customers. It may also provide a competitive advantage in the sales process. However, a typical copier and printer service department will face significant challenges in supporting managed IT.
Separate or Integrated… or Partnered
The first step in moving into managed IT is to decide how you are going to handle IT support. Is it something that will be managed and operated through the service department, or will it be a separate department? Will you handle all customer support internally, or will you outsource some or all of the support?
This is a decision that will vary by dealership. If you currently have a help desk operation, provide all of your own internal network...
Light production print can be a stepping stone to new customers and it offers the opportunity to grow your business. When managed properly, it can position a dealership for growth and continued success. When managed poorly, it can spell problems that may haunt the dealership for years.
This is not an arena you want to dip your toe in and see how it goes. To do it effectively, a significant investment in parts and training is required. If you only have a couple of devices in the field, your ability to properly support the equipment will be nonexistent.
The Market Assessment
The first phase of making the light production print decision needs to be a market assessment to see how many potential units you can reasonably expect to place. If that number is less than 10, this is probably not a market you want to tackle. Additionally, these need to be in a geographic area that one team can support.
If your territory covers a wide area and you expect to have equipment scattered throughout the...